As a political row broke out over the back series GDP data, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Thursday jumped in to defend the downward revision in growth rates during the previous UPA regime, saying the new numbers were reflective of real state of the economy.
With his predecessor P Chidambaram calling revised GDP growth rates "a bad joke" and "a hatchet job", Jaitley took the attack to the opposition camp saying the Congress leader had previously welcomed the GDP numbers based on a new series when the data was revised upwards for the last two years of the UPA regime but is now criticising when the same formula has been used to re-state the numbers of previous years.
"The new series is more broad-based and is a better reflection of the Indian economy. It is globally more comparable," he said as he defended the work of Central Statistics Office (CSO) -- the agency responsible for collating the data. "The CSO is a highly credible organisation, it maintains an arm's length distance from the finance ministry." The new numbers show India's economic growth rate averaged 6.7 per cent during the Congress-led UPA regime as compared to 7.3 per cent under the present government. Previous numbers had put the average growth rate during the 10-year UPA rule at 7.75 per cent.
Chidambaram, however, called the exercise a "bad joke". "Now that NITI Aayog has done the hatchet job, it is time to wind up the utterly worthless body," he tweeted. "The earlier numbers were calculated by the National Statistical Commission. Has the Commission been disbanded?" Former Chief Statistician Pronab Sen, he said, is absolutely correct. "Niti Aayog has nothing to do with tabulation of data." "I wonder if Niti Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar will agree to a debate the data than telling journalists that their questions are "undeserving of an answer"," he had tweeted.
Kumar, who had Wednesday hosted Chief Statistician Pravin Srivastava to announce the so-called backseries data, accepted the challenge.
"Let's discuss & dissect back series data. I gave 3 hrs of detailed interview yesterday & it is somewhat disingenuous of you to say that I asked the media to not ask questions. Do give more coherent reasons for ur difficulty with new data," he tweeted.
He defended the Wednesday's press conference saying "NITIAayog uses data extensively for making logical policy recommendations. The data is always based on assessment & quality check by eminent statisticians." "Therefore, it was logical for @NITIAayog to provide the platform for its release. Pronab Sen would know that MOSPI & Yojana Bhavan worked closely together," he said in another tweet.
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
Get Latest Business News, Stock Market Updates and Videos; Check your tax outgo through Income Tax Calculator and save money through our Personal Finance coverage. Check Business Breaking News Live on Zee Business Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe on YouTube.